Friday, November 14, 2008

It depends on where you live

Battlers in Epping and Mill Park, as well as better-off residents of Whittlesea have little to fear from the coming economic downturn. They are among the most employed people in Australia.

The latest breakdown of employment by region shows that Melbourne's North Eastern statistical region which sweeps from Diamond Creek in the south up to Whittlese is the most fully-employed in the state. Its unemployment rate of 2.3% is half that of the neighboring regions of South Eastern and Outer Eastern Melbourne, and an all-time low.

Men in North Eastern Melbourne are especially fully-employed, with an jobless rate of just 1.8%, also the lowest since the statistics were collected...

Away from the centre the unemployment rates begin to climb with some having a "5" in front of them. The rate in the Central Highlands and Wimmera is 7.1%.

The data suggest that the gains of Australia's 17-year boom have been spread unevenly, and raise the possibility that the downturn will be uneven as well.

Craig James from Commonwealth Securities says it will depend on what type of employer you have.

"It’s clear that the greatest problem for many businesses is the difficulty in attracting and retaining good staff. While the national economy is set to slow, these businesses will be electing to hold onto staff on the fear that they will lose the competitive advantage in the longer-term," he says.

The differences are reflected in wage figures released yesterday. Wages in mining have been climbing at the fastest pace in 8 years. The average mining wage now stands at $101,311, up 10% in a year. In contrast retail wages climbed just 1.4 per cent.

The ACT is the best paid state or territory in Australia, with an average wage approaching $70,000. West Australians are next, earning an average $67,000, and NSW residents earn just over $60,000. Victoria is in 4th place with an average wage of $58,000. Tasmanians are the worst-paid on average, earning $53,100.

The most employed people in Australia appear to be women in Sydney's eastern suburbs. The detailed figures released yesterday suggest that their impossibly-low unemployment rate of 0.9% beats even that of women in Newcastle (1.2%) or men in North Perth (1.4%) or men Brisbane's inner ring (1.3%).

The latest Treasury and Reserve Bank forecasts suggest that employment growth is about to stop. The agencies are expecting no further employment in the rest of this year, and almost none next year, creating no net new jobs for the 225,000 Australians due to enter the labour force and pushing Australia's jobless total above 700,000 for the first time in a decade.

Most Australians appear to have the same expectation according to a Melbourne Institute survey released yesterday. It found that 78% of those surveyed expected unemployment to rise. Only 4% expected it to fall.

Unemployed? It depends on where you live.

Unemployment rate by statistical region

2.3% North Eastern Melbourne
2.8% Inner Melbourne
3.3% North Western Melbourne
3.8% Inner Eastern Melbourne
3.8% Mornington Peninsula
3.9% Southern Melbourne
4.5% Outer Eastern Melbourne
4.6% Outer Western Melbourne
5.9% South Eastern Melbourne

3.4% Barwon-Western District
4.2% All Gipsland
4.7% Goulburn-Ovens Murray
5.8% Loddon-Mallee
7.1% Central Highlands-Wimmera

Source: ABS. In some regions the sample is to small to be statistically reliable.